It’s officially the day of thanks in the United States. I don’t care how cliche this sounds, but I think that we should focus on what we have to be thankful for more than one day a year. In one of my first blogs I wrote about how I first started journaling, with my grateful lists. Every day I would write at least five things that I am grateful for that day. I challenge you to start your grateful list and continue it until the new year.
I don’t want to talk about the politics surrounding Thanksgiving or if we should or should not celebrate it, but I do want to touch base on what Thanksgiving means to me. To me, it’s all about getting family together. It’s an excuse to all sit down at the table and have a meal together. It’s a reason to travel and enjoy the presence of the people that we have with us (and the memories of those that are no longer here).
What are your plans this year? It’s our first year hosting Thanksgiving at our home and I have to admit that I am very nervous. We will be having my husband’s family over for their (and our) first vegan Thanksgiving dinner. I have faith that everything will be okay, but of course I am nervous that a million things could go wrong. If you know me, you know that I am not the chef in the house. My idea of cooking is whatever is easiest while still tasting amazing. So, because I am the one doing most of the planning, I’m hoping this will be an easy-yet-tasty day for all.
It’s weird to think that this holiday (one that is surrounded by the idea of food) is based upon one specific meat product. It’ll be interesting to see what my in-laws think of our stuffed butternut squash instead of a turkey. Fingers crossed.
So being that it is the day before Thanksgiving, I spent the night at the grocery store fighting the crowd of procrastinators (no shame, I am one of them) and now am baking tomorrow’s desserts. I do not love baking to say lightly. It’s never something I look forward to, so it has been a test to my patience. I have already forgotten to grease the pie pan (Pyrex dish because I forgot to buy a pie dish) for the pumpkin pie and added way too much vegetable shortening to the cranberry & blueberry crisp (because I didn’t double check the measuring spoon). But now I am sitting down, taking a deep breath, and allowing myself to be proud that I did it and that no matter how it all turns out tomorrow, we will have had hosted our first (vegan) Thanksgiving with my in-laws.
On a semi-related subject, I started a new job this week. On my second day, they had me pick an option for the Christmas party coming up. The options were prime rib, chicken, or lasagna…so the conversation of me being a vegan arose. It took all of one and a half days for the subject to come up. And then the questions started about what I can (and cannot) eat. They were super nice about it and curious which I am incredibly grateful for, but it’s always an anxiety-inducing topic. I never know if it will become a lecture about protein intake, calories, and calcium (especially when the audience is a bunch of nurses). No, I can’t have ice cream. No, I can’t eat eggs. But I CAN eat fruits, vegetables, nuts, legumes… The only things I can’t have are animal products. When they hear about how much weight I’ve lost and how well my body has adapted and is now digesting, there usually isn’t much of an objection heard. And of course, since it’s Thanksgiving time, they wondered about the turkey. For some people it’s crazy to think about a food-based holiday being tampered with. But I will tell you, once I listed what foods we were having (green bean casserole, stuffed butternut squash, stuffing, stuffed mushrooms, mashed sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce…) I’m pretty sure everyone would have loved to come for dinner. It’s not that much different from a “regular” Thanksgiving dinner – just a few substitutions and a different main course. No big deal.
If we can do this, so can you.
Whatever your Thanksgiving plans may be, I hope you are surrounded by people you love, devour the food you enjoy, and create memories to be cherished this holiday season.